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Mobile number portability finally arrives in India

21 января 2011

Mobile customers across India now have the right to take their number with them when they switch operator.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) confirmed earlier this week that nationwide mobile number portability would take effect on Thursday. "Mobile number portability regulations shall come into force in all telecom service areas in the country from 20 January 2011," the regulator said in a bulletin to telecoms licensees and MNP service providers.

Number portability has been a long time coming in India. Operators holding licences in the country's metro and 'A' telecoms circles were initially due to provide MNP in September 2009 with others set to follow over the subsequent six months. However, the deadlines were pushed back a number of times as operators did not implement the required systems in time. Haryana became the first state in India to launch MNP in November.

If demand for MNP in Haryana is anything to go by, the impact on the Indian mobile market will not be significant. According to newspaper the Economic Times, TRAI figures show that just 140,000 people switched mobile operator in Haryana since the scheme was launched on 25 November. That amounts to less than 1% of the state's 19 million mobile subscribers.

However, reports in the local press suggest a significant proportion of India's 700 million-plus mobile users will at least consider moving operator, depending on what a new operator could offer them (more on that in tomorrow's Friday Review). And a number of Indian operators have undertaken high-profile marketing campaigns over the past few weeks in a bid to attract subscribers.

On Thursday Telenor-owned market newcomer Uninor said it was "ready and eager" for MNP. "This is free and fair competition and we welcome it," said a statement from Rajiv Bawa, EVP, corporate affairs at Uninor.

Meanwhile Tata Teleservices' Deepak Gulati, executive president of its mobility business division, described the long-awaited arrival of MNP as "the beginning of an era".

"Customers should have the right to choose whichever service provider they find the best, and it is up to the operators to provide the best possible services to keep their customers loyal to them," Gulati said.

The latest TRAI figures show that Tata had an 11.44% share of India's 706.69 million mobile subscribers at the end of October, while Uninor claimed 1.95%. Bharti Airtel continues to dominate, connecting 20.7% of Indian mobile users.


Источник: Total Telecom

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